eleventh day christmas

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me, eleven pipers piping

The eleven pipers symbolize the eleven Faithful Apostles

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton was the first person born in the United States to be canonized, and today is her memorial. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is one of those saints who has a little bit for everyone. She was a wife and mother, a convert, and (after being widowed) a religious sister. She knew great personal suffering, yet managed to maintain the strength and stamina to raise a family after being widowed, to be a champion of Catholic education and to found the American Sisters of Charity.

She is the patron saint of Catholic schools, and the shrine of Elizabeth Ann Seton is in Emmitsburg, MD. Take a virtual tour of the shrine here (it’s beautiful!) Pope Paul VI said this of her:

Elizabeth Ann Seton is a saint. Elizabeth Ann Seton is an American. All of us say this with special joy, and with the intention of honoring the land and the nation from which she sprang forth as the first flower in the calendar of saints. Elizabeth Ann Seton was wholly American! Rejoice for your glorious daughter. Be proud of her. And know how to preserve her fruitful heritage.

This prayer by St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is perfectly fitting as we continue to observe the Christmas season:

Lord Jesus, Who was born for us in a stable, lived for us a life of pain and sorrow, and died for us upon a cross; say for us in the hour of death, Father, forgive, and to Your Mother, Behold your child. Say to us, This day you shall be with Me in paradise. Dear Savior, leave us not, forsake us not. We thirst for You, Fountain of Living Water. Our days pass quickly along, soon all will be consummated for us. To Your hands we commend our spirits, now and forever. Amen.

[From the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: “The liturgical season of Christmas begins with the vigil Masses on Christmas Eve and concludes on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. During this season, we celebrate the birth of Christ into our world and into our hearts, and reflect on the gift of salvation that is born with him…including the fact that he was born to die for us.” There are, however, the traditional “12 Days of Christmas,” captured in the song of the same title. Some claim the song was meant as catechism of a sort, written and sung for nearly 300 years of British persecution of Catholics. We will be using both the song and the Church’s liturgical calendar to celebrate the Christmas season. We hope you enjoy.]